Posts

My Husband and I Argue a Lot in Front of Our Small Daughter and It Scares Her. What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My husband and I argue a lot in front of our 3 year old daughter. She often gets scared seeing this. Many times my husband has called me names or told me to shut up in front of her. I am very worried about the impact this will have on her.

What should I do to protect her?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah lift this tribulation from your family.

Professional help

Dear sister, it sounds like you and your husband need professional help. It is traumatising for your daughter to see your husband disrespect you so openly. Unless this changes, when she grows up, your daughter will expect the same from her husband. Kind and respectful treatment from a husband will be strange to her. May Allah protect her and all children from this.

I urge you both to see a culturally-sensitive counsellor and get help. Your husband needs to learn anger management strategies, and you both need to learn conflict resolution skills.

Solutions

Please perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night and ask Allah to help heal your marriage.

When registration reopens, I encourage you and your husband to complete Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life. You must both learn and understand the spirit and law behind a successful Islamic marriage. Shouting matches have absolutely no space in a healthy marriage.

Please visit the #staymarried blog and study their resources, especially on conflict resolution.

Oppression

Narrated Anas: Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” [Bukhari]

Allah has entrusted your daughter to you and your husband. If staying together will only cause even more oppression, then it is time to look at the future of your marriage.

Although divorce is the most hated of all permissible things to Allah, if it means your daughter will no longer be exposed to the trauma of watching her father oppress her mother, then it could be a mercy. That being said, please exhaust all options – counselling, dua, mediation by a trusted local scholar etc. Divorce is a last resort for you and your husband. You and your husband must do your best to make your marriage work. That being said, please don’t wait for decades before ending a destructive marriage.

Please write back if you have more questions.

I pray that Allah heals your marriage, and blesses your daughter with a loving and peaceful home.

Please refer to the following links:

A Little Fiqh on Controlling One’s Anger
Staying Connected to Your Purpose Even When Your Marriage is Rocky, by Ustadha Anse Tamara Gray

Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

"Is it Eid yet? A Fun and Educational Countdown for Kids"

Growing up in a sleepy English countryside village, we had to drive at least an hour to the nearest mosque (a converted semi-detached house). We would visit it twice a year on the occasions of Eid and my parents tried their best to make these days as special as they could for us. With none of our extended family nearby and only a few Muslim friends – Eid was a subdued but certainly happy affair. We would receive eid money and in addition one gift each. It was exciting to make that trip into town where our parents would let my sisters and I pick out anything we wanted from the hallowed pages of the Argos shopping catalogue!
This was the innocent late 90s, and we loved the Eid that we had. I would go back to school with henna-painted hands as the only sign of festivities happening at home. Without the world of Amazon Prime – where a henna cone can be summoned at the click of one’s fingers – I would spend  the night before Eid mixing the henna and applying  it myself using a toothpick to dab out the designs.
Sumaya-Teli-IMG_16023The next day someone would inevitably ask why I had ‘orange marker’ on my hands, (soon Madonna made henna painted hands the next cool thing of the nineties and the same people would then ask me to decorate their hands with it) . I would feel proud to say that we celebrated two Eids in a year, rather than the one Christmas my friends did.
Even so, like many of us who were brought up in the Western world, I have fond memories of the Christmas holidays. Even if our families did not celebrate the actual holidays, it was a time when everybody had time off from work, families and friends gathered together, ate good food and (before the days of Netflix and cable) watched Christmas movies on TV. Our children are born into this culture and are also likely to associate positively with the idea of Christmas.

“You don’t even have a Christmas tree?”

I must admit, when I was around eight years old, although I knew there was no Santa Claus, the idea of someone whose job it was to leave presents for small kids was quite compelling. So, just to be sure, I decided to set up an experiment. That year on  Christmas Eve, I hung the closest thing I had to stockings (a pair of striped socks!) on our mantlepiece. When they were still there, empty and limp the next morning, I happily put Christmas and all its associated myths behind me. Nevertheless I couldn’t shrug off the feeling of inadequacy when a girl at school looked at me in pity and said, “You don’t even have a Christmas tree?”

Competing for their attention

The reality of the matter is that we are competing for the attention of our children, and our religious festivals are competing with the attention of other more glittery offerings. Many of us start to decorate our homes and plan Ramadan Advent calendars. We borrow from the culture we are in and start to replicate the festivities, but just on Eid and Ramadan, instead of during Christmas. We spend money on gifts and want to make these festivals a real part of our children’s lives. We want to create memories, make that clever homemade eid craft, take that perfect holiday family photo.

Eid was super duper cool – akin to going the moon

There is nothing inherently wrong with any of this. The imam of our local masjid, himself brought up here in the USA, led a halaqa (learning circle) recently on parenting. He reminisced about eid, talked about how exciting his parents made sure eid was for him and his siblings. He described his childhood eid as being  ‘…super duper cool – akin to going to the moon’.
I  love all of this and I am one of those mothers scouring Pinterest for ideas, and wondering if I too can be that cool parent and pull of something spectacular for my children. However, I do worry that we might fall into the trap of the dreaded c-word: commercialization.
Indeed, in our own house, there is our five year old, who has been adding toys and coveted items to his Eid list all year! He loves to draw, so his lists are actually illustrations of the things he would like, being sure to include his two year old sister, he will ‘draw’ eid lists on her behalf too!
“Oh mama HOW MANY days till Eid?” he will ask or “How many more days? Is Eid after tomorrow’s tomorrow?”

 “How many more days?

On one such occasion last year I found myself telling him Eid was only 100 days away…and with that came an idea so exciting that I set to work straight away. We would have a tree – it would be a learning tree, a growing tree and with each leaf that opened we would count one less day till Eid but one more inch closer to Allah. I proposed to my then-four-year-old that we would have a “99 Names of Allah Tree.”
And here dear reader, I invite you to join us! This year on the 29th of March, it will be approximately99 days till eid.

“There are ninety-nine names of Allah; he who commits them to memory would get into Paradise. Verily, Allah is Odd (He is one, and it is an odd number) and He loves odd numbers,” the Prophet said, as narrated by Abu Hurairah (Sahih Muslim 6475).

This could be your small way of off-setting the superficial rigmarole that has started creeping in on us, and focus your whole family back to our Creator. It would be a way to practice reading out the names of Allah on each day of Ramadan – a spiritual link – an opening for discussion of the beautiful attributes of our Lord. A way for our young children to know and start to appreciate the spiritual essence of our deen, to make insight a habit, and a realization that remembrance of Allah is at the crux and heart of not only our worship, but also our celebration.

Our 99-Names Tree

So we started making a tree template, and stuck it up on the wall. Then we planned to add a leaf with one of Allah’s 99 names everyday until Eid. And because I am not the most organised person – we didn’t finish doing it all last year but we did start and we aim to continue this year inshallah. May Allah accept it from us as worship (ibadah).
While I was writing this article, shut away in the spare bedroom with strict instructions to the kids that mama was working, there was a knock on my door. In came my five-year-old.
“Mama what are you writing about?”
“I am writing an article” I replied.
“What is it about?”
I believe in answering all questions truthfully but in the capacity of the child to understand. So I replied, “I am writing about how when I was a little girl I really liked Christmas trees, and how when I grew up I loved making a Ramadan 99 Names of Allah tree with my children.”
A sweet smile of realization spreads across his face…
“That’s you and me!”
“Yes it is…”

How to make your own Ramadan Tree

If you are a methods and materials person then here are the details ;
Materials:

  • a tree template/cut out/ cardboard
  • coloured paper to use for cutting out leaf / blossom / apple shapes
  • (depending on the season you can make leaves or flowers or apples for the tree.)
  • scissors
  • glue/ blue tack

Method:

Step 1: Cut out the tree shape

Step 1: Cut out the tree shape

 

Step 2: Glue on to cardboard

Step 2: Glue on to cardboard

 

Step 3: Paint/colour it in

Step 3: Paint/colour it in

 

Step 4: Make a leaf or fruit-shaped template

Step 4: Make a leaf-shaped template

 

Step 5: Use coloured paper to make your leaves/fruit

Step 5: Use coloured paper to make your leaves

 

Step 6: Write out or print the names

Step 6: Write out or print the names

 

Stick name onto leaf

Step 7: Stick name onto leaf

 

Step 8: Stick leaves onto tree

Step 8: Stick leaves onto tree

 

Our growing tree

Take it further

If this piques your interest, here’s how to expand the tree into something bigger:

  • Practice writing in Arabic,  forming letters and sounding them out
  • Provide a simple translation of the meaning of name and attribute it alludes to
  • Try to instill a sense of awe inspired by the names in your children.

I always find it useful when real examples are given of how to talk with your child (because we all have moments where we are stuck). So, here’s an example of how you might initiate a conversation.
‘AL BASIR’ ‘All Seeing’
“Look around you – at this room,” I start by addressing my son. “Allah has given us two eyes with which we can see everything in this room. Isn’t it amazing? All we have to do with our eyes to make them work is …. What?”
“Erm I don’t know?”
“…open them!”
“Oh yeah!”
“… and we can enjoy all the beautiful things around us.. so what about Allah? Allah is the one who Created us and our eyes that work so perfectly. Allah is the all seeing. Do you know what that means?”
“That he can see everything?”
“Yes but not just everything here right now – but everything everywhere all the time! That means not just in this room but in the whole wide world and universe.”
“And in the galaxies and Milky Way?”
“Yes!”
“Even under the sea?”
“Yes!”
“And all at the same time?”
“And guess what? He can even see inside…your…heart! And inside the heart of every single creature. He is the All Hearing and All Knowing. He never sleeps or feels tired like we do. He can hear your prayer and the prayer of all living things in all the universe – look outside at the trees – see the leaves falling? Can you imagine all the leaves that fall in all the trees and forests of the world – did you know that not even a single leaf falls without first asking Allah for permission?! How many leaves do you think there are in the world?”
“Wow! Infinity! Even more than infinity!”

The tangible beauty of the Quran

And there you are – full circle back to the leaf on which you are about to write down this beautiful name.

“And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record.” (Chapter 6 Verse 59)

Take out the Quran and show your child this verse. Read it together and show your child the tangible beauty of the Quran.

Other fun activities

Leading on from this, there are an overwhelming amount of crafts and activities for children associated with Ramadan and the two Eids. I have singled out three I find particularly beneficial, because they actually link the child to the Quran and Hadith. This is especially important during the month of Ramadan ‘the month of the quran’ and during the last 10 days of Dul Hijjah.

  1. Gilded Dunya has a lovely informative post about introducing the Quran to a very young child. She talks you through ‘baby steps towards the Quran’ complete with an adorable ‘quran pointer’ craft that you can make with your child.
  2. Sumaya-Teli-22Parenthoodmuslimstyle has some wonderfully versatile flashcards that invite children to ‘(Let’s) find a word in the Quran’  – which they  generously offer as a free download. These can be printed and laminated to be used in numerous ways – from very simple word association for very young children to more complex discussions with older children. They even provide an excellent PDF of some direction in which one can take the discussion for each word inspired by the Quran.  this really is a brilliant resource and I can’t commend the sister duo behind this, enough on their work!
  3. 10 day Hadith compilation encouraging good deeds on the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah, as a free download.

It is during special times in early childhood that if associations are formed, then they may carry on into the future, inshaAllah.

Sumaya Teli is the founder and co-author of Mamanushka.com
All photographs by Sumaya Teli.

Resources for Seekers

 

How Should I Handle a Teenager Who Wants to Give up on Islam?

Answered by Ustadha Umm Umar

Question: How should one handle a teenager raised in a practising environment from a young age, but now unsure as to whether he wants to remain a Muslim due to all the restrictions in Islam?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah

I pray this message reaches you in the best of health and iman.

There have been several posts about how to reach out to teenagers lately. I think we need to realize that there is no such thing as the perfect parent out there, i.e. if I do my job perfectly as a Muslim parent that will result in my child becoming a strong and pious Muslim for the rest of their life.

Wrong. Consider that iman (faith) is a gift from Allah Most High which He bestows upon His beloved servants. There are supplications such as “O Allah, Make my heart firm upon your religion.” Even in the very Fatiha we read daily, we ask for the path of those Allah has favored, not the path of those who earn His anger, nor of those who go astray. Reflect on what this means.

There is no one immune from losing their faith, so we need to turn to Allah Most High with humility and need, asking Him to strengthen and preserve faith in our hearts, and in the hearts of our children. Even some of the prophets were tested with regard to their children. Consider the example of Prophet Nuh (upon him be peace) when he asked his son to get on the boat and how he refused.

Also realize that once your child has reached the age of maturity, they are now accountable for themselves before Allah Most High. You have done your best in raising them, so now it is up to you to help them like a friend in staying on the right path.

A couple of tips I can recommend that I learned from my mother who went through these same struggles in raising my brothers and I:

1) Have a general set of house rules for one’s children. We were not allowed to go out with friends after school and certainly not parties. We could join after school clubs where there was a staff supervisor on hand, so we still had the opportunity to benefit from the additional clubs the school had to offer – and get in more social time with good friends.

2) Keep close tabs on your kids. I remember once asking if I could go for additional tutoring for Math (while also planning to meet up with some friends), and my mom saying something like that sounds great, that she would take me there and wait for me during my appointment. I went to that appointment with my teacher and straight home afterwards : )

3) Take your teenagers to classes or conferences with teachers that can seriously affect their hearts. Some teenagers really turn off when listening to different lecturers speak with a thick accent about things that don’t seem to make sense to them. I still remember vividly, to this day, the first time my mom took me to a Shaykh Hamza Yusuf lecture. Seeing Islam explained (I think for the first time) in a clear, logical and sophisticated manner made me realize that I did not fully understand Islam and needed to get more serious. This can help bridge the gap from learning about outward rituals of Islam to imbuing a state of having true love for Allah the Exalted and seeking His pleasure in every moment, and through one’s worship.

4) Strive to have a good relationship with your teenager. Be open to talking to them about anything troubling them without making assumptions or being judgmental. Take them on outings that you would both enjoy, even if it is just to your local coffee shop. Ask them for advice on how to handle situations you are not sure about, such as “What would you do in X scenario?” and allow them an opportunity to give *you* advice. Give your own advice sparingly, and at times when they seem open to listening.

5) Turn to Allah Most High at night, especially during the tahajjud prayer (i.e. before dawn) and beg Allah Most High to protect your children & descendants from the path of misguidance, and to guide them in ways pleasing to Him and protect them in their dealings with the dunya.

I know some of these rules seem kind of restrictive, but alhamdulillah my mom really did hold me in check at all the right times through the grace and mercy of Allah Most High. She always told me I would thank her later, and many years later that was exactly what I did.

May Allah Most High have mercy on us and help us all to guide our children onto the straight path, and may he protect them from the trials & temptations of the dunya, ameen.

Please see also:

Islamic Parenting: Raising Upright Children

How Do I Protect my Children from Bad Influences in Society?

Islamic Parenting: Ten Keys to Raising Righteous Children – Faraz Rabbani

Parenting: Planting the seeds of prayer in our young ones

Raising Your Children with Deen & Dunya

The Powerful Dua of a Parent

“Where are the fathers?”

Islamic Parenting: Ten Keys to Raising Righteous Children

Traditional Methods of Raising Children

Raising Children With A Sound Heart

Infertility: Why does Allah Not Bless Some With Children?

Raising a Muslim with Manners

The Prophet Muhammad’s Love, Concern, & Kindness for Children

Making Ramadan a Time for Young Hearts to Grow

On Parents Showing Righteousness to Children

Ibn Khaldun on the instruction of children and its different methods
Umm Umar (Shireen Ahmed)

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Guilherme Yagui

The Blessing of a Muslim Doula

“Doula” is an ancient Greek word meaning “a woman who serves”.

Three days of conversing with women of different faiths and nationalities, left me, a mom of seven, inspired and ready to help women in their pregnancy and birthing experience as a Muslim doula. And it all started with one blessed experience.
Over the summer, I enjoyed a three day intensive training with Birth Arts International. Originally I went to the classes to help the instructor, with no intention of becoming a student, but Allah had other plans! After beginning my doula training, I started my own doula services called Higher Purpose Doula Services, based in Georgia. I called it “Higher Purpose” because I believe that everything we do should have the higher purpose in mind—to get closer to the Creator.

 

Serve Allah by serving His creation

As a Muslim woman, training to become a doula meant something very special to me.
More than just giving women information and showing them different breathing techniques, it was one of the ways that I could serve others. Service (khidma) is part of our beautiful religion. Imam Tahir Anwar once said, “Serve Allah by serving His creation.”
In the Quran, Allah reminds us of our purpose in life: “I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me.” (Quran 51:56)
I am not the only doula-in-training, who has found a connection between my work and my faith.  Sister Alexandria, a Maryland-based doula from Heaven Beneath Your Feet Doula Services speaks about her experience.
“It’s deeply spiritually rooted for me,” she says. “I wanted to do something that would be a beautiful and humbling reminder and that I would enjoy. As I researched what a doula is and what we do, I felt in my heart a little light go on that felt just right. I want to be able to help women utilize their pregnancy, birth and overall family life to get them closer to Allah.”
“For me Islam is an empowerment to women,” says Umm Suhaib, a doula-in-training based in Canada, “and that is exactly what a doula tries to do. Allah  Most High has made the journey into motherhood a sacred and powerful one and a doula is there to hold space for a woman on this journey.”
Sister Aishia Muhammad of Al Muslima and Motherhood Birth Services, who serves in Philadelphia and abroad, said, “Becoming a doula wasn’t a decision I made. Rather, it was a position I found myself fulfilling 17 years ago. I saw a large number of my sisters craving for assistance with love, care and spirituality while giving birth, particularly in hospital settings.
“(For example), while some laboring sisters remember their Lord (dhikr), chanting His name and making supplications (dua) other need to be reminded to do so, and some maybe too winded to speak. Your Muslim Doula will understand your dhikr and duas, can help you recite them and even encourage it further. This is the huge difference between a Muslim and a non-Muslim doula. Birth is a spiritual event—a Muslim woman cannot give birth without the acknowledgement of that fact. ”

What would a Muslim doula do for me?

A doula is a blessing. Not only does she provide emotional support, but she also can provide physical and educational support to an expectant mother.
According to Birth Arts, a doula provides:

  • up-to-date, evidence-based information to the parents
  • information on birth options
  • uninterrupted labor support during delivery
  • emotional, physical and personal support
  • help to the mother to attain and maintain proper nutrition
  • a presence in the environment that helps the mother feel secure and confident

During the birth, a doula’s presence helps in many ways.

doula

Credits: Sarah Hopkins

Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth

  • tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
  • reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
  • reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans
  • reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals

In addition, research shows parents who receive support can:

  • Feel more secure and cared for
  • Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
  • Have greater success with breastfeeding
  • Have greater self-confidence
  • Have less postpartum depression
  • Have lower incidence of abuse

(Source: www.dona.org)

For a mother in her most powerful and vulnerable state

“A doula is a professional who holds space for a mother in her most powerful and vulnerable state,” says Umm Suhaib.  “She teaches the mother about informed consent, and works towards building a birth plan that puts the mother in charge of her body as much as possible. She helps the husband to build a toolbox for supporting his wife physically and emotionally, to keep the family feeling safe and loved before, during, and after the process of childbirth. She provides prenatal education, natural coping and pain relief, breastfeeding and bottle feeding support.”
“The top benefit of having a doula is having constant and consistent support for you during this sacred, beautiful and sometimes stressful time,” adds Sister Alexandria. “Through all the ups and downs that might come up with your family, your doctor trips, and life in general, the doula remains a consistent and constant source of support for you.”
The doula’s role is to help women have a safe, memorable, and empowering birthing experience, and that is truly invaluable.

“We need more Muslim doulas…”

doula

Credits: Nic Taylor

Sister Alexandria feels that it’s very important to have more Muslim doulas in the community.
“As a Muslim, it’s absolutely wonderful to have a Muslim to accompany you and your family during this sacred time. It goes back to the various sunnah that go with the whole process that might not be established or properly understood in someone who isn’t Muslim. Regarding getting the dad involved, as Muslims, we understand and are used to the boundaries and thus are perhaps more capable of facilitating dad being hands-on while respecting his space, etc.”
Sister Aishia shares similar sentiments. “Indeed we need more Muslim doulas. Many Muslim woman face ridicule, criticism and harassment birthing in non-Muslim environments. But as sisters in deen (faith) we share a common duty to help and protect one another in those situations.”

My Doula Diary

Doula training has taught me more on how to be supportive and helpful. I’m thankful I can be of service to help women have the experience they desire. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf puts it beautifully when he says, “Real pleasure is in the service of others, and that’s why the happiest of all people, in our belief, is the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ .”
He also says, “No one served people more than the Prophet ﷺ. His life from the beginning to the end was a life of service.” SubhanAllah, how befitting is it to take part in a service that literally means “a woman who serves” or also said to mean a “woman’s servant!”

A calling I did not hear, until He made it known to me

Training to become a doula, became another way for me to perform service (khidma). It is a calling I did not hear, until He made it known to me. As I continue my training, I take clients, and I pray that not only am I helping them, but also giving them a better representation of Islam than what the media is showing.
It is a pleasure to help women in their pregnancy journey. As a mom, I also feel that Allah has blessed me to be able to share my experience with other women, share some of the tips and tools I have used and learned along the way. One of the reasons we go through things in life is so that we can be able to help others. Entering the world of birth work gave life to something inside me that I had not previously recognized.
There have been many mothers in the Muslim community who could have used that support when they were pregnant. They may have needed more information or that gentle voice that tells them “You can do this,” or just be in that room so that mom doesn’t feel alone.
That’s what a doula is here for.
Ameera Rahim

Resources for seekers

A Ragged Shirt and Toast Crust: Raising Successful Children

We want to give our children the best that we can give them. But what exactly makes children successful?

Talk to child development experts anywhere in the world today, and the words that will be on almost all of their tongues are “overindulgent” and “overprotective” parenting.

Over the last few decades, the natural parental drive to help children succeed has transformed into an almost irrational desire to shield kids from any discomfort that might momentarily undermine their happiness. That, however, is being deeply criticized in child development circles as ultimately impairing children’s chances at success.

Classical Muslim scholars would agree.

Keep it simple, make them successful

In the tradition of Islamic scholarship, countless texts have been written on the best practices of raising successful children.

One of the most important of those works is the poem by the tenth-century Shafi’i scholar, Imam Muhammed b. Ahmad b. Hamza al-Ramli. I came across the poem in SeekersHub’s course Islamic Parenting: Raising Upright Children ,which is based on that work and its commentaries.

Throughout the course, I saw Imam al-Ramli’s text directly address the issues that contemporary child development experts have highlighted as deep problems in parenting today; warning parents against letting children live in an atmosphere of overprotection and overindulgence.

Imam al-Ramli offers some practical, everyday examples on how to keep children from being given too many comforts, which will help them become more resilient to the ups and downs of life, as well as instilling concern for those less fortunate than them—ultimately making them more successful in this life and the Hereafter.

Below are two excerpts from the poem that present some of those examples. While they may seem very basic, they show that big lessons can come in small packages.

Dress for…success?

successful children

Credits: Joel

Imam al-Ramli recommends that clothes and sleeping arrangements—often status symbols in society—be kept simple.

“Their body isn’t clothed in the best clothes,
All the time, nor their bedding always made soft”

While children’s clothing should generally be becoming and clean, wearing an old shirt every once in a while will help the child learn to not be overly attached to beautiful things.

SeekersHub instructor Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explained, or to associate the value of a human being with the type of clothing they can afford. If they ever end up in a situation where they cannot afford a certain standard of living, they will likely be much less affected by the lack of those things than people who expect nothing less than total comfort and a high level of luxury.

Additionally, children who are overly attached to the beautiful things of this world begin to chase material gain at the expense of working towards pleasing God. Parents can weaken this attachment by gently taking away some of those beautiful things periodically.

Of course, this must be taken with balance, emphasized Shaykh Faraz.Dressing in less than beautiful clothing is something to be done only occasionally as part of a regimen to break the ego. The standard clothing a Muslim should wear generally should be neat and comely in accordance with the practice of the Prophet. In addition, dressing shabbily in our society can lead to being perceived as unprofessional or uncaring. However, a good balance should be cultivated between being joyful of Allah’s blessings, and being humble.

The most important thing to remember is that children learn from parental leadership. Parents must ensure to incorporate these guidelines into their own lives, showing the same self-control, humility, and gratitude they wish to see in their children.

Feeding Frenzy: Are we setting them up for failure?

In another section, Imam al-Ramli discusses simplicity in food; an issue high on the mind of many parents dealing with a generation marked by notoriously picky eaters.

“[Children should be] eating the dry parts of food
To become accustomed to dry food without sauce.”

successful children

Photo credit: Isriya Paireepairit

 

Here, Imam al-Ramli indicates that it is important to not always give a child what he or she desires in terms of food. In many Eastern cultures, a typical meal consisted of some bread or cooked grain served with a stew or sauce. To just have the plain bread or grain was considered less than luxurious – it was what many of the poor ate. It was also more difficult to chew and consume because of its dry, hard texture.

SeekersHub instructor Shaykh Faraz here explained that by keeping children from becoming accustomed to having what they desire every day, they learn self-restraint and self-control, which are critical characteristics in successful people. They also learn to not become too attached to a certain level of lavishness that leaves them looking down at those who cannot attain that level or feeling paralyzed when confronted with a situation in which they themselves cannot attain it.

So, should we move into a cave?

While not all of us may subscribe to the grain-and-sauce mealplan, the Imam’s advice can be applied in other ways, such as occasionally preparing a very basic meal of plain whole-wheat pasta or even just keeping the crust on our children’s sandwiches.

Yes, even if they complain it’s too dry to eat.

By giving them less than what they desire every once in a while, our children learn to truly appreciate delightful food, clothing and other such blessings when they are next available and to give thanks no matter how much or how little they have.

How do I raise successful children?

To learn more about Imam al-Ramli’s advice for parents who want to raise balanced and successful children, sign up for SeekersHub’s free course on Islamic Parenting: Raising Upright Children, this upcoming term. It offers access to other great tips and guidelines for raising upright children.

By Nour Merza

Resources for Seekers

Raising Muslim Children In An Age Of Disbelief

Shaykh Walead Mosaad is father to two exceptional young men, MashaAllah. How did he and his wife get it so right? In this brief interview, SeekersHub blogger Aashif Sacha gets Shaykh Walead talking about why he made the choice to commit years of his life to learning the Islamic sciences (hint: for his kids), who his role models are and what tips he has for those fearful of raising children in an age of widespread disbelief.

Finally, if you are worried that you have left it too late to begin studying your religion, Shaykh Walead has some very reassuring words for you.

It’s never too late to start a life of learning. Take a SeekersHub course today. There are courses on dozens of interesting topics, including Islamic Parenting. It’s so easy to sign up and you can learn from anywhere in the world.

Have you signed up to the SeekersHub Compass mailing list? Every week, exclusive content is distributed only to subscribers – including the recordings from our monthly seminars. Sign up before you miss out.

Should I Return a Christmas Gift?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaikum,

I have recieved at work, as a christmas gift, a 10£ gift voucher.

Can I accept it?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

There is no harm in accepting such a gift as it is merely a social custom and not a specifically religious action.

Please see: Giving & Recieving Christmas Gifts

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,
Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Can Parents Give to Their Children Their Inherited Shares While Alive?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam’aleykum,

My parents are alive and in good health but they want to distribute their wealth to me and my sisters according to the law of inheritance.

How should they go about it?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

May Allah Most High grant both your parents a long and blessed life.

Your parents can give you gifts now, but your inherited share of their wealth will not pass to you until one of them passes away. Even if they give you a share of their wealth now, the actual shares will be calculated and transferred at death.

At such a time, I’d advise contacting a reliable scholar.

Please also see: Dividing an Estate for Inheritance and: Inheritance Laws: Can I Stipulate Other Than the Determined Amounts Mentioned in the Qur’an?

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,
Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Infertility: Widespread but Largely Unaddressed by Muslim Communities

An estimated 250,000 Muslims women in countries like the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia suffer from infertility. Research shows it can be extremely stressful and can lead to depression, which in turn worsen the chances of becoming pregnant.

“Infertile? Just relax, and it will happen”

Studies have been done into the effects of infertility amongst Christian and Jewish communities but for the first time, a major study will be conducted amongst Muslims. Mona Elgohail is a Clinical Psychology PhD student and researcher at Drexel University. She is conducting a research study using an online survey on the impact of faith on the mental health and coping of Muslim women experiencing infertility.

A Guide to the Confused of Our Times, by Imam Zaid Shakir

imam_zaid_shakirimage181The seeming tsunami of negativity unleashed by the dastardly actions of terrorists, some claiming to act in the name of Islam, and the nefarious reactions of an assortment of bigots, racists and opportunistic politicians, have combined to create an environment that has demoralized many Muslims, terrified others, and left many confused and desperately searching for direction. This state has increased exponentially in the aftermath of the shootings in San Bernadino, California.

In light of this situation, we need to step back and remind ourselves of some fundamental Qur’anic teachings. First of all, we are told that this world is the abode of trials and tribulations (2:155; 2:214; 3:186; 21:35; 29:2-3; 67:2). This world is not our permanent home. We are passing through and we are tested along the way. If we endure the tests with unshakable faith, patience and dignity, we eventually return to our ancient, yet permanent, home –Paradise.

One of the verses referenced above asks, “Do you think that you will enter the Garden (Paradise) without there coming to you the like of that which befell those who passed away before you? Misfortune and hardship afflicted them, and they were so shaken that the Messenger [of that time] and those who believed with him cried, “When will God’s Help come ?!” Surely, God’s Help is near” (2:214). The times we are experiencing are not unprecedented in human affairs, nor are they novel for believers. There will be times when we will be shaken, however, despite the severity of the convulsion, we should never forget that God’s Help is near. With prayer and patience, we access that Help.

Oftentimes, when the Qur’an mentions the trials and tribulations we will encounter in the world, it mentions the importance of patience. As mentioned above, trials are to be borne with patience. In this case, patience has two aspects: one involves being undaunted by the verbal abuse, discrimination and other forms of mistreatment we might suffer from ignorant people; the other involves bearing the hardships that might come in persevering in doing the good things we do. Continue to be a good neighbor. Continue to be a good coworker. Continue to be the person you know you are, and do not allow the situation to lead you to doubt in yourself or to become someone who you aren’t.

In light of the ongoing anti-Muslim propaganda blitz, there will be those who might question you. “How can I trust you?” “How do I know you do not harbor ill-will towards me?” Try to understand the fearful place such comments may emanate from, but also understand that God knows who you are and He knows your innermost thoughts and motivations. If you are right with God you are right, and most people will appreciate your light. Live a life that radiates the truth you represent. Life a life defined by the love that you share and do not allow anyone to prevent you from living and loving as only you can. Be who you are, and, first and foremost, be with God.

Never despair of God’s justice. There is surely a lot that is wrong in the world, however, eventually, God will set things right; of that we can be sure. Quoting a 19th Century theologian, Theodore Parker, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would frequently say, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The suffering of so many innocents all over the world will not continue forever. Wherever they are, one day, they will be delivered from their oppressors. Live for that day. Work for that day. Pray for that day, knowing that the end of the circle is its origin and we were created to live in peace. Do not allow anyone to lead you to believe otherwise.

King would also quote William Cullen Bryant, who said, “Truth crushed to earth will rise again.” Sometimes it feels like the truth of Islam –a religion that has brought people together like no other force, a religion that has played an integral role in the ongoing march of human civilization– has been crushed to earth. Distorted by its ostensible friends as well as its actual foes, that truth will rise when you stand up and give voice to it. That must not be with words of frustration, anger, hatred and victimization, but with words of encouragement, joy, love and forbearance.

End of Part One

This was first published on Imam Zaid Shakir’s blog New Islamic Directions.

 

Resources for Seekers: